Jun 19, 2019
American Soybean Association (ASA) Board Member and Missouri farmer Ronnie Russell appeared today before the House Financial Services Committee Subcommittee on National Security, International Development and Monetary Policy, testifying on the impact of trade and tariffs on soybean producers and the larger agricultural economy.
“Soybean farmers like me are feeling the impacts of the tariff war, and they are unsure if they will be able to make it through another growing season,” Russell said. “Older farmers are considering retiring early to protect the equity they’ve built up in their farms, while younger producers are looking at finding other employment. We may also see the shuttering of more businesses in rural communities whose livelihoods depend on the health of the farm economy.”
The 25% retaliatory tariff imposed last July has all but halted shipments to China, which up until last year was the largest export destination for U.S. soybeans. In 2017, China purchased $14 billion worth of U.S. soybeans. Now, the tariff has caused immediate and severe damage to the price of U.S. soybeans, which fell from $10.89 to $8.68 per bushel last summer.
“Our finances are suffering and stress from months of living with the consequences of tariffs is mounting. Soybean growers need China’s tariff removed now,” Russell continued. “Long-term, what farmers and rural communities need is predictability and certainty, which only comes through maintaining and opening new markets where we can sell our products. While we are working hard to diversify and expand other market opportunities, the loss of the China market cannot be fully replaced.”
Russell concluded his remarks by calling on Congress to urge the Administration to conclude negotiations with China that include an immediate lifting of the soybean tariff. He also asked both Congress and the Administration to finalize and enact the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), to bring a sense of progress and stability back to U.S. soybean growers and rural America.